By Desmond Alicea, Gary Crusader
After an intense search and hours of uncertainty, Chastinea Reeves was found safe and unharmed on Feb. 15. Police reported that she was found at 2027 Maine St. in Gary, IN.
During a press conference on Tuesday at the Gary Police Department, Public Information Officer Dawn Westerfield, stated, “We will not be releasing much information at this point, just that she has been recovered, the Amber Alert will be canceled and the investigation is still ongoing.”
After Chastinea’s mother was found dead in her home in the 4400 block of West 23rd Place in Gary on Monday, the successful search to find Chastinea capped a dramatic effort to locate the 15-year-old amidst heavy speculation and rumors.
Westerfield did not comment on a possible connection of this case to the death of the 34-year-old woman. The deceased woman’s home is not far from the location where Reeves was recovered on Tuesday.
On Feb. 13, police officials sent out an Amber Alert seeking the public’s help in finding the teenager.
Started in 1996, the Amber Alert System was developed as a response to assist families in locating runaway or missing children. It was originally named as a backronym—meaning America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response. Later, it was named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, TX.
Throughout the years, the Amber Alert System has helped many, and its methods have expanded with the technological advances of today. Now, the average person will have a text message sent to their phone when an Amber Alert is released. Prior to that, some people may remember billboards flashing the pictures and names of missing children or a message airing over the radio.
When a child goes missing, federal law requires for the child’s name to be entered into the National Crime Information Center according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
A report from the FBI states that in 2016, 465,676 children were reported missing. A recent bulletin on the Indiana.gov website shows that 463 Indiana children have been reported missing in 2016 and 2017.
Personal safety has always been a concern for the citizens in Gary. Residents are advised to be cautious of their surroundings.